Past AFCC-Minnesota Events

A summary of past events hosted by the Minnesota Chapter of AFCC.

For more information on past AFCC Conferences sponsored by the parent organization, click here.

"Anticipated Dynamics in High Conflict Cases"

A repeat with additions of the October Lunch & Learn present in St. Paul

Friday, January 9, 2014

12:15 to 1:15 p.m.

Hennepin County Family Justice Center
Room 172

 Michael Borowiak, MSW 
Gay Rosenthal, M.A.
Phoenix Process Consultants


 Recent research has shown that there are predictable behaviors evident in high conflict families. Understanding these dynamics will assist the family law attorneys, mental health professionals, guardians and other neutrals to assist families through conflict. Additions for this presentation will also address Family Court Judges and Referees.

The goals for this Lunch and Learn include:

  • Participants will gain an overview of dynamics in high-conflict family dissolution
  • Participants will gain a perspective on role diffusion in these families and on elevation of children to leadership roles (aka “The child decides.”
  • Judges and Referees will gain an introduction to role-specific considerations for families in high conflict cases.


Fee: AFCC Members $10

Non-members $15

Pay at the door.


Click Here to Register. 

"Parenting in the Context of Domestic Violence"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Rasmussen College
226 Park Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN

Co- Sponsored by AFCC-MN and Lund Sauter, P.A. Attorneys at Law


Kristine Lizdas
Managing Attorney
Battered Women's Justice Project

Minneapolis, MN

Patty Hackett
Child and Youth Services Coordinator
Anna Marie's Alliance
St. Cloud, MN

This presentation will introduce participants to a four-part framework for addressing custody cases involving domestic violence and will include an overview of new tools to apply in this context.

$10 for Members
$15 for Non-Members
Payable at the Door

 Please RSVP to Betsy Lund at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28

Lunch Available for order from Erberts & Gerberts for $10. Please order with your RSVP and specify ham, turkey or veggie.

Smoke Screen or Fire: Sexual Abuse Allegation in Family Court- Part I

Friday, November 14, 2014

8 a.m. to noon

The Minneapolis Boulevard HoteL

Some of the most difficult custody cases are often those involving allegations of sexual abuse.  Abuse allegations, whether made by the child directly or by a parent or family member on his or her behalf, can result in increased involvement from a variety of professionals including law enforcement, child protective services, mental health professionals, and forensic psychologists and interviewers.   For both the child and the alleged abuser, the ramifications can be dire and reach beyond questions of custody, to criminal and child protection issues.  In part one of this two part series, participants will understand Minnesota’s unique history with sexual abuse assessments, and gain perspective on current models and best practices in evaluating sexual abuse allegations—including interviewing, medical assessments, and extended family assessments. 

This Program will feature:

The Genesis for Change: A Breig Hisory of the Jordan, Minnesota child sexual abuse matters. (Susan Gallagher, JD, RN)

The Physician's Examination: TBD

The Single Forensic Examination: Nancy Seger, LSGW, CornerHouse, Forensic Services Director

Extended Evaluations: Vicki Naushultz, MEqLP, Midwest Children's Resource Center

$120 Early Registration for AFCC-MN members

$140 for non-members

Click Here to Register


 Conference Schedule:

 8 to 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions

8:35-8:50 a.m.
A Brief Retrospective of Sexual Abuse Exams and the Jordan lessons: Susan Gallagher, JD, RN

8:50 to 9:40 a.m.
The Forensic Examination:  Nancy Seger, LGSW, CornerHouse, Forensic Services Director

9:40 to 10:30 a.m.
The Medical Examination: Alice D. Swenson, M.D.  

10:30 to 10:45 a.m.

10:45 to 11:35 a.m.
The Extended Evaluation:  Vicki Nauschultz, MEq., LP, Midwest Children’s Resource Center

11:35 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wrap Up Panel.  





"Strategies to Address Dynamics in High Conflict Cases"

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

12:00 Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Ramsey County Courthouse
Room 40

 Michael Borowiak, MSW
Gay Rosenthal, M.A.
Phoenix Process Consultants


 Recent research has shown that there are predictable behaviors evident in high conflict families. Understanding these dynamics will assist the family law attorneys, mental health professionals, guardians and other neutrals to assist families through conflict.

The goals for this Lunch and Learn include:

· Participants will gain an overview of dynamics in high-conflict family dissolution

· Participants will gain a perspective on role diffusion in these families and on elevation of children to leadership roles (aka “The child decides.”)


Fee: AFCC Members $10

Non-members $15

Pay at the door.

Click Here to Register. 

Meet Me at the Corner of Child Protection and Family Court

Friday, June 27, 2014 

12:00- 1:30 p.m.

Hennepin County Family Justice Center

Ever wondered about the interplay of child protection and family court? Here's your chance to hear more about both courts and how they interact. Our panelists provide information about these two systems, including screening, the evolution of these courts over time, and current trends.

Our distinguished panel includes:

The Honorable Anne McKeig, Presiding Judge of Hennepin County Family Court

Bob Hyland, Hennepin County Family Court Services Evaluator and Mediator

Don RyanProgram Manager of Hennepin County Child Protection Intake and Investigations

Todd Fellman, Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney

Zak Chesson, Hennepin County Guardian ad Litem

Click here to register.

Co-Sponosred Event by AFCC-MN and Gray Plant Mooty

Tuesday June 17, 2014

12:00 Noon to 1:30 p.m

Offices of Gray Plant Mooty

110 West St. Germain, St. Cloud, MN

Please join us from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, for a panel discussion of the roles in family court moderated by Ellen Abbott, co-author of the recently updated Minnesota CLE Summary Guide Comparing Roles in Family Cases. Panelists include Honorable Vicki Landwehr, Tom Lies, June Johnson, and Referee Mary Madden. Discussions will include duties and expectations within the roles and focus on use of the roles in greater Minnesota where resources can be limited.

Honorable Vicki Landwehr – Judge Landwehr has served the Seventh District since 1993, and was Chief Judge from 2000 through 2005. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Landwehr was in private practice and focused her practice in family law.

Tom Lies – Tom has been in private practice in St. Cloud for over 30 years. In addition to representing clients in family law and other matters, Tom is a respected mediator and also serves as Parenting Consultant and Parenting Time Expeditor. June Johnson - June founded Tri County Custody Services, Inc. in 2002 and has been providing Custody Evaluations, Parenting Plans, Parenting Consulting and Parenting Time Expeditor services since that time. June also served the 7th Judicial District as a Guardian ad Litem from 2001 until 2011.

Referee Mary Madden – Mary Madden is a Family Court Referee. For the past five years, first in Ramsey County, and currently in Hennepin County. Before joining the family court bench, she practiced exclusively family law for close to 20 years, and served as a Child Support Magistrate for 11 of those years. She is currently President of the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts – Minnesota Chapter.

Cost: $10 for members; $15 for non-members

Register by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bring your own lunch or order a sandwich/chips/cookies for $10 by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(Specifiy ham/turkey/veggie sandwich)


Informing the Court About Mental Illness

Friday, April 11, 2014

12:00 Noon until 1:30 p.m.

Ramsey County Courthouse, Room 40

The turnout for the AFCC-MN Lunch & Learn "Informing the Court About Mental Illness" was high––evidence of its importance and relevance to custody proceedings.

Samuel Albert, Ph.D., L.P. reviewed for the audience five broad areas which are problematic for parents caught up in custody proceedings: emotional regulation, behavior control, cognitive difficulties, substance abuse, and disordered personality traits. The Honorable Margaret Daly (Hennepin County District Court Judge) and the Honorable James Street (Ramsey County District Court Referee) discussed the mental health considerations most relevant in making a custody decision and how attorneys can best advocate for their clients.

Our panelists answered questions from the audience about how best to clarify for the Court the significance of a parent's mental health diagnosis in contested custody cases and how mental health issues can be framed so that they are useful to the court.

More Info on Speakers:

SAMUEL ALBERT is a Licensed Psychologist who maintains a forensic and therapy practice in Roseville, Minnesota. He received his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona. His forensic practice specializes in psychological evaluations of parents involved in family law cases, psychosexual evaluations, and consultation on psychological reports done by other professionals. He began his career in 1978 as the Anoka County Court Psychologist, where he evaluated numerous individuals involved in sex crimes and other criminal activities. For 14 years he was affiliated with Alpha Human Services, a residential and outpatient sex offender treatment program in Minneapolis, including several years as its Director of Adult Outpatient Services. He also served two terms on the Minnesota Board of Psychology, including two years as the Board Chair. He has published 15 articles in the Minnesota Psychologist.

MARGARET DALY was appointed to the bench as a 4th District Judge in 2000 and is currently assigned to the Juvenile Court. Prior to this she was a Hennepin District Court Referee and served in Family Court and Felony Drug Court. Before becoming a judicial officer she was an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney assigned to Civil Mental Health Court where she handled petitions for civil commitment involving mental illness, chemical dependency and sexual dangerousness. Early in her career, she was in private practice with the local firm of Robins, Kaplan in their California office. She received her law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law. She also has an undergraduate degree in social work and worked briefly in that field prior to law school.

JAMES STREET has served as a family court referee in Ramsey County since January 2011 where he handles primarily family law cases and orders for protection as well as CHIPS cases under Ramsey County’s one judicial officer for a family policy. He serves on the Statewide Advisory Committee for Early Case Management, the Court’s Statewide Committee to develop standards for supervised parenting time, and is a member of the State Family Law Training Committee. He co-chairs Ramsey County’s Early Case Management Advisory Committee. Prior to being on the Bench, he led the St. Paul family law unit for SMRLS from 1995-2010. In 2010 served on the statewide “Study Group” appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court and authorized by the State Legislature to study and report back to the legislature about the merits of a presumption for joint physical custody. He is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School, co-teaching a class on domestic violence.


Opening a Dialogue. . .
Revisiting "A Parental Guide to Making Child-Focused Parenting Time Decisions" and
Best Practices with Limited Resources

Thursday, July 17 2014, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Revisiting "A Parental Guide to Making Child-Focused Parenting Time Decisions"

Still handing out "A Parental Guide to Making Child-Focused Parenting Time Decisions" to clients? Still relying on that guide in your arguments to the court or when issuing parenting time decisions? Then this conference is for you! Learn how social science research conducted both nationally and internationally over the past 15 years can improve your approach to resolving, arguing and deciding parenting time issues. Hear how one court has been able to incorporate this information into its state Rules of Court with our keynote speaker, Steuben County Indiana Superior Court Judge, William Fee, and join the discussion about what we can do to influence change in Minnesota.

Friday, July 18, 8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Best Practices with Limited Resources

With ever-shrinking resources to assist families, attorneys, mental health practitioners and courts, day 2 will feature several professionals from both in and outside the Twin Cities metro area discussing how to do more with less while still protecting your clients and yourselves.

The Minneapolis Boulevard Hotel
2200 Freeway Boulevard
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

Conference Registration

Early Registration (Register by June 20, 2014)
Member: $180
Non-Member: $210
Regular Registration (After June 20, 2014)
Member: $210
Non-Member: $235
Student Registration (Including 2014 Graduates)
No Cost

Click Here to Register

Keynote Speaker:

The Honorable William Fee
Steuben County Superior Court
Angola, IN

Bill Fee is Judge of the Superior Court of Steuben County, Indiana, and has extensive experience in family law cases. Elected to the bench in 1985, Judge Fee has worked on numerous projects to improve the administration of justice, and was twice appointed by former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard as Chair of the Domestic Relations Committee of the Indiana Judicial Conference; a panel of trial judges charged with review of family law issues as they relate to the administration of justice. In this capacity, he oversaw comprehensive reviews of Indiana's Child Support Guidelines, concluded in 2010 and Indiana's Parenting Time Guidelines, concluded in 2012.
Judge Fee is a member and former president of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and has served on numerous AFCC committees, the Wingspread Domestic Violence and Family Law initiative, the Shared Parenting Task Force. He co-chaired the Child Custody Consultant Task Force, and is published in the AFCC Family Court Review. The Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence selected him as its outstanding judge in 2000. Recently, he was selected as the recipient of the "Champion for Children" award, presented by a community-based anti-violence and safe exchange organization.

Conference Presenters


Ellen Abbott, Esq.
Abbott Mediation & Law Office
Minneapolis, MN

Nancy Zalusky Berg, Esq.
Walling Berg & Debele, P.A.
Minneapolis, MN

Michael Black, Esq.
Michael C. Black Law Office. Ltd.
St. Paul, MN

Brian Clausen, Esq.
Clausen & Hassan, LLC
St. Paul, MN

Michael Dittberner, Esq.
Linder, Dittnerner & Bryant, Ltd.
Edina, MN

The Honorable Robert Docherty
Judge of District Court, 5th Judicial District
New Ulm, MN

Gail Finley
Guardian ad Litem
Mankato, MN

Loretta Fredrick, Esq.
Battered Women's Justice Project
Minneapolis, MN

Susan Gallagher, Esq., RN
Gallagher Law Office, LLC
Eagan, MN

Resa Gilats, JD, MSLA
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

Beth Harrington, PhD
Eagan, MN

Farhan Hassan, Esq.
Clausen & Hassan, LLC
St. Paul, MN

Karen Irvin, PhD
Minnesota Mediation & Counseling Center
St. Paul, MN

The Honorable Vicki Landwehr
Judge of District Court, 7th Judicial District

St. Cloud, MN

The Honorable Ann Leppanen (ret.)
Referee of District Court, 2nd Judicial District 
St. Paul, MN

Kirsten Lysne, PhD, LP
Moxie, Inc.
Golden Valley, MN

The Honorable Mary Madden
Referee of District Court, 4th Judicial District
Minneapolis, MN

The Honorable John McBride
Judge of District Court, 10th Judicial District
Stillwater, MN

Kevin McGrath, Esq.
McGrath Dispute Resolution,LLC
Minneapolis, MN

Michelle Millenacker, PhD, LP
Millenacker Psychological Services
Northfield, MN

Mindy Mitnick, EdM, MA, LP
Uptown Mental Health Center
Edina, MN

Andrea Niemi, Esq.
Andrea Niemi Dispute Resolution
Minneapolis, MN

The Honorable Thomas Neuville
Judge of District Court, 3rd Judicial District
Faribault, MN

Scott Rodman, Esq.
Arnold, Rodman & Kretchmer, PLLC
Minneapolis, MN

Judy Sherwood, MA, MBA LMFT
Judy Sherwood, LLC
Roseville, MN

Martin Swaden, Esq.
Swaden Resolution Services, LLC
Minneapolis, MN

The Honorable Heather Sweetland (ret.)
Judge of District Court, 6th Judicial District
Duluth, MN

Nancy Ver Steegh, JD, MSW
AFCC President, 2012-2014
St. Paul, MN



Thursday, July 17, 2014

7:30 – 8:15 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:15 – 8:30 a.m.
Welcome & Introductions

8:30 – 9:15 a.m.
The Road From There To Here:
A History of "A Parental Guide to Making Child-Focused
Parenting Time Decisions"

9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
"If You Build It, They Will Come. . ."

Keynote speaker: The Honorable William Fee

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.

10:30 – 12:00 p.m.
"From Teething to Texting . . .
Parenting Plans for the Ages."

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Luncheon & Annual Meeting

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
"The Framework:" A Comprehensive Approach to
Identifying, Understanding & Accounting for
Domestic Violence in Family Court

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
"How I Met Your Mother . . ."
The Spectrum of Never-Married Parents

3:30 – 3:45 p.m.

3:45 – 5:00 p.m.
The Road From Here to There:
Influencing Change in Minnesota.

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Reception & Entertainment by Comedy Sportz

Friday, July 18, 2014

8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m.

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
"Who's on First?!" History of the Summary Guide –
Comparing Roles in Family Court and Best Practices

9:45 - 10:30 a.m.
"To Serve, or Not to Serve. That is the question . . . "
The quandary of handling questionable appointments

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

10:45– 11:30 a.m.
"Lions and Tigers . . . Complaints, Oh No!"
Avoiding & Handling ADR Complaints

11:30 – 12:15 p.m.
"Continuing the Dialogue . . . "
Closing panel discussion with judicial officers from
both in and outside of the Twin Cities

12:15 p.m.
Post-conference networking lunch (cost not included)









Continuing Education Credits Applied For:

10.5 CLE Credits
10.5 CEU Credits
1.25 ADR Credits

Hotel Accommodations

Room Rate: $109
To receive discounted room rate, reservations must be made by June 25
Reservations can be made by calling (763) 566-8000 | (800) 481-3556 or
visiting www.minneapolisboulevardhotel.com

Ethics in the Cloud:

Emerging Ethical Issues for Mental Health and Legal Professionals Thursday February 20, 2014


University of Minnesota
Continuing Education and Conference Center
1890 Buford Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108

Even though Minnesota’s winter of 2014 was again breathing down our backs with yet another snow storm, AFCC MN’s half day seminar “Emerging Ethical Issues for Mental Health Professionals and Family Law Attorneys,” was an event well worth leaving home and office to attend! A nearly packed room were informed and entertained by featured speakers Judie Rush, Esq., and Gary R. Schoener, M.Eq., L.P. Our distinguished panelists were Scott Fischer, Ph.D., L.P., chair of the Board of Psychology; Andrea Niemi, Esq., who was a long time member of the ADR Board and past Chair of the Board and Ed Kautzer, Esq., an attorney experienced in representing lawyers, judges, psychologists, and other professionals before their licensing boards.

Ms. Rush, who is the current Chair of the Minnesota Board of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, addressed the impact of technology on our ethical obligations. Gary Schoener, internationally known for his expertise on professional misconduct, addressed the many issues affecting boundaries and practices with the variety of emerging mechanisms of communication with clients and colleagues. Our distinguished panelists identified emerging ethical issues on psychologists, Rule 114 neutrals and those with matters before their licensing board.

Many of the attendees joined together for lunch following the seminar at Stout’s Pub. We join together to thank the Half day seminar co-chairs Nancy Zalusky Berg, Esq. and Susan Phipps-Yonas, L.P. for their excellent efforts in planning and coordinating this event.

Approved for 4 Continuing Education Credits by the MN Board of Psychology Continuing Education- (Board log number is 201403.165) 

Approved for 3 Continuing Legal Education Credits (Event Code 188868)


Parenting Consulting: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

January 23, 2014

Hennepin County Family Justice Center

Michael Boulette, J.D., and Nancy Darcy, M.A., L.P., moderated a panel consisting of Nancy Zalusky-Berg, J.D., Beth Harrington, Ph.D., L.P., Judy Sherwood, LMFT, and Richard Stebbins, J.D. on the topic of Parent Consulting, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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